PACKING LIGHT AND PACKING RIGHT
Over my years of traveling I have found that packing light, looking good and enjoying myself more were all achievable with some pre-planning, less concern with looking fabulous and the right frame of mind.
If you are going on an important business trip and need to portray a professional persona, then by all means pack like your career depends on it. But if you are bouncing from city to city for business or pleasure and you have no one to impress other than yourself, pack less and enjoy more. You really don’t need half of the stuff you have packed in the past.
WHY YOU NEED TO PACK LIGHT
- Save your back, your body and your sanity. Just because your airlines say that you can bring 50 pounds of stuff without an extra charge, do you really need 2 outfits for every day and a ‘just in case’ ensemble…NO! the less you bring the less you have to forget to repack.
- Stay nimble and mobile. You may be permitted 2 checked bags and a carryon, but now you need to schelp around all those bags. Changing locations frequently begs for fewer bags.
- Don’t become a crime victim. Lots of bags makes you an easy target for thieves.
- The world is not flat. Navigating stairs and escalators with less is easier than always trying to locate an elevator.
- Save money. Yes, you can take taxis or use a ride hailing service, but I mixing with the locals on public transit gives you a feel for a city that private transport can’t match.
- Save time. After a day of transit, usually all I want to do when I reach my hotel is detox in my room as soon as possible. Having to wait for a porter to bring my bags drives me crazy. I can relax faster and use the tip money on other things.
GENDER NEUTRAL TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
- Cash and Carry…always carry some cash but not so much that if you were to lose it that it would ruin your trip. Use credit cards as your main means of commerce. Use ATMs to replenish your working capital as needed. If out of the country, only use cards with no foreign transaction fees. Carry a back up card just in case one is declined. It happens! Store all credit card information and contact numbers encrypted on your phone. I really like the app Keeper.
- Paper is still king. Have copies of all your travel documents and hotel reservations. Phone batteries die, power outages can ruin your ability to access computerized records.
- Disasters can happen in another city or country. The further you are from home, the more distressing situations can become. Travel insurance is an investment in peace of mind and body.
- Free WIFI can be very expensive. We all want to save money but logging onto free WIFI can expose your personal information to hackers. Use a VPN (virtual personal network) whenever you surf the web.
- Technology keeps us sane. I use an e-reader on my phone and tablet. The synch up so I am always on the correct page. I carry my phone and a charger and all necessary cables. When traveling overseas, I have a small universal adapter that sports USB ports.
- I have been called a Girl Scout by those that travel with me…need a band aid, aspirin, bug spray I likely have it with me. I keep a limited supply of medications, a small first aid kit and toothbrush with me rather than my checked luggage. Cosmetics and larger quantity toiletries are checked.
- Clothing selection can be challenging. Find a color palate you like. Mix and match.
- Scarves can add a splash of color, can be used as a light cover up, a belt, head band or beach cover up.
- Handle the vagaries of weather by layering. A light jacket and a sweater can suffice for most temperatures. A compressible down jacket is great for really cold climes.
- A few pants, tops that you can layer, 2 pairs of shoes, PJs, underwear that can be rinsed out in the sink and dries easily, socks, bras, bathing suit if appropriate, sunglasses, a vest, hat, umbrella and you should be good to go.
- Pick the right luggage for the adventure. You may prefer a hard-sided bag for your checked luggage because of its durability or you may like a soft sided one because of its ability to handle the goodies you purchase along the way. Which every you choose, be sure that you have proper identification on and in the bag…tags can be taken off so additional ID in the bag is essential. TSA approved locks help to deter others from rummaging through your belongings.
Carry-ons are the piece of luggage that you will have the most contact time with on your travels. You need a bag that keeps you comfortable, organized and safe. The ‘ULTI’ messenger bag is perfect when a backpack doesn’t fit your needs or style. Travel should be a fabulous experience and not a hassle. This bag will become your new favorite travel essential.
by Bernadine Cruz, DVM